Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Greek Chicken Stew with Cauliflower

I'm sick, y'all.  At least I was sick when I decided to make this dish.  Now, I'm on the recovery bandwagon.

One of the overarching reasons I decided to go with a chicken stew this week is that I was really feeling run down by the flu.  The flu! After years of only experiencing colds during the winter months, the flu bug finally bit me.  And it bit hard! I was incapable of making it to work for two whole days this week, and that's never happened in the 6 years I've had this job.  I could barely even make it to the next room.  It was bad.  So a few days after I was able to move around freely, I conjured up this beauty.

I really don't make stews a whole lot.  But I dug this recipe up from the NYTimes and decided I needed to make this for myself.  What better way to provide comfort than through food?  That's pretty much status quo for me.  Don't act surprised.

Greek Chicken Stew with Cauliflower
slightly adapted from The NYTimes
makes 4-6 servings

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 to 8 chicken legs and/or thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons habanero sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 small or 1/2 large cauliflower, cored, broken into florets, and sliced about 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 to 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1) Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep, saucepan or pot.  Brown the chicken, in batches if necessary, about 5 minutes on each side.

2) Remove the pieces to a plate or bowl after they brown. Pour off the fat from the pan.

3) Add the vinegar to the pan and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

4) Add the remaining tablespoon of the olive oil to the pan, and turn the heat down to medium. Add the onion and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring often and scraping the bottom of the pan, until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes.

5) Turn the heat to low, cover and let the onion cook for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until they are browned and very soft.

6) Add the garlic and stir together for a minute or two more.  Add the tomatoes and their juice, the cinnamon, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the mixture is reduced slightly and fragrant.

7) Return the chicken to the pot. If necessary, add enough water to barely cover the chicken.  Bring the mixture to a simmer, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes.

8) Add the cauliflower and simmer for another 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and the chicken is just about falling off the bone.

9) Sprinkle the feta on top before serving.  Serve with rice or grains.

The cinnamon!  Who knew that such a small dash of cinnamon could completely make this stew happen.  Cause it's happening.  This stew was amazingly flavorful.  The chicken thighs were juicy and tender.  (Don't cheat yourself and use chicken breasts.  You really need to use thigh meat for something like this.)  The cauliflower gives this stew the crunchy texture it needs to keep things interesting.  The thyme is rampant throughout each bite of this stew, and I like it.  Yes, I described an herb as rampant.  I love thyme.  So so good.

Serve this up with some brown rice on the side and a sprinkling of feta on top to provide some sharpness.  Did you really thunk I would give you a dish that doesn't include cheese?  Come on.  You know me better than that.  Now get to cooking!

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